Lava River Cave
Lava River Cave
This mile-long lava tube cave was formed roughly 700,000 years ago by molten rock that erupted from a volcanic vent in nearby Hart Prairie. The top, sides and bottom of the flow cooled and solidified first, after which the insides of the lava river continued to flow emptying out the present cave.
Camping: overnight camping, camp at least 1 mile from the entrance of the cave.
Services: Closest town is Flagstaff, about 25 minutes away
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes.
Bring two or three light sources.
Please don't deface cave surfaces.
Have you been here?
This mile-long lava tube cave was formed roughly 700,000 years ago by molten rock that erupted from a volcanic vent in nearby Hart Prairie. The top, sides and bottom of the flow cooled and solidified first, after which the insides of the lava river continued to flow emptying out the present cave. Ample evidence of how the tube was born is written in the rocks of which it is formed. Small wave-like undulations in the floor are the remains of ripples frozen in the last trickle of molten rock that flowed from the cave. Stone icicles hanging from the ceiling show where a final blast of volcanic heat caused the rock to partially re-liquefy and drip. Dress appropriately when you visit, with warm clothes and sturdy shoes. The cave is as cool as 42° even in summer, and you may even find some ice inside. The rocks are always sharp and slippery, too. Bring two or three sources of light, in case one happens to fail, it can be very dark one mile from the nearest light source. Though the Lava River Cave is open year-round, FR 245 and/or FR171 are typically closed due to muddy, snowy conditions. It is approximately a four-mile one-way trip to hike or ski to the cave from US 180.
The above text taken from: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recarea/?recid=55122
Lava River Cave - Flagstaff, Arizona
171b Forest Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Directions: Drive 9 miles north of Flagstaff on US 180 and turn west (left) on FR 245 (at milepost 230). Continue 3 miles to FR171 and turn south 1 mile to where FR 171B turns left a short distance to Lava River Cave.
April 2, 2018